Compact crossovers are all the rage these days and one of the vehicles that started it all was the very first Toyota RAV4, which was introduced in 1994. Since then, it has maintained a strong presence in its segment.
Now in its fourth generation and having recently undergone a fairly significant refresh, we look into the best attributes of this vehicle as well as the not-so-favorable ones.
2018 Toyota RAV4 Pros and Cons
It Has a Hybrid Version: This is arguably one of the major advantages this car has over the competition apart from the Nissan Rogue, which also has a hybrid version. The Toyota hybrid’s Atkinson-cycle 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors pushes out a combined 194 horsepower. Fuel savings over the non-hybrid four-cylinder models are pretty big, with the hybrid netting a combined EPA-rated 32 mpg over the combined 26 mpg of those other models.
ALSO SEE: 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review
Great Fuel Economy: Even without the hybrid’s extra fuel savings advantage, the gasoline-powered RAV4 models return 26 mpg in combined city and highway driving, which is pretty good for the segment.
It’s Pretty Roomy: The RAV4’s conventionally shaped profile yields advantages in interior packaging and accommodations. There is generous legroom and headroom front and back and a reclining feature for the rear bench seat improves passenger comfort. The cargo hold can carry an impressive 73 cu-ft of space when all rear seats are folded down.
Quiet Driving Manners: Even though the RAV4 is not as dynamically exciting as some of its livelier competitors, it excels in terms of driving comfort. Suspension noise is muted and rough roads do little to disturb the tranquility of the cabin most of the time.
Great Resale Value: This is a Toyota after all, so expect the resale values for this car to stay strong.
ALSO SEE: Getting Sideways in a Toyota RAV4 is Easier Than You Think
Bland Looks: Despite having a Sport trim level that spices things up a little bit, the rest of the RAV4 trim levels are pretty bland with boring looks and predictable design themes. The interiors also follow suit and even top trim luxury models come with an overabundance of plastic interior trim pieces and unconvincing leather seats that don’t do it any favors in the interior quality department.
Quickly Gets Expensive: With the introduction of the Platinum trim, starting prices have gone higher than $36,000 in the U.S. for that particular top trim and is inching closer to compact luxury crossover territory money. Add in that all-wheel drive is optional on all trim levels and it can get pricier than some of its competitors quickly.
Ride Can Be a Bit Harsh: Even though road noises are well muted, the suspension setting for this vehicle can be a tad on the stiff side especially on the SE model. Stephen Elmer of said in his review, “The Toyota is stiff and feels nimble through corners.” The stiffness is great for handling, but not great for a smooth ride, and given its family vehicle status, consumers may prefer a softer ride that makes long trips more pleasant and comfortable.